Stories … they’re funny things. This A Deacon’s Musing feature will share vignettes of voices that are (often) an amalgamation of experiences, contexts and people. They will frequently be monologues, which will be speaking both directly to our United Church of Canada and generally to faith communities. As with all stories, this may not have actually happened, but all stories are true. And as story-tellers know, once you hear them, they are happening to you …
I know you don’t often think about our early days, but it’s always been like this. Do you remember how Scott treated you when you were young? Remember when you wanted something done? It took … well it took patience. I know you can imagine my smile right now – we laughed – eventually!
Choices Image: Gemma Stiles
It usually came down to sharing the options, listening and waiting – perhaps repeating and (at times) Scott would have to go and think about things: always took and still takes council alone. And – perhaps it’s also important to recall – that even then Scott wasn’t always ‘in.’ But when a choice was made, the three of you could rely on that commitment.
And now things are changing. You’ve seen change before … but somehow this feels different, maybe even scary?
I wish I could tell you it would be okay – that you were making the right decisions, but the four of you know often it’s not about right or wrong: maybe it’s more about what ‘feels’ important? What your intuition tells you? I know you will likely not want to hear this, but maybe it’s time to think with your heart? You’ve always been so gifted with words … and sometimes that seems to leave you unable to listen with other parts of the body …
I think you’ve done that a few times. When all the logic in the world seemed hell bent on forcing you one way, you decided on something totally different! Some might even call crazy!
Remember when Wesley wanted and pursued that career? Everyone looked at the job: all it entailed, all the expectations that came with it, even who it was assumed who could do it and what they should look like. And – not surprising – Wesley didn’t care, wasn’t dissuaded and so you supported that decision. And was there ever an uproar! Family near and wide were so upset! They were more than comfortable to judge you and that choice – but you’ve always supported one another and you got through that.
Was that change? Maybe … and perhaps different then now, but that choice brought about adjustments and it might even be that they connect with today: as you do your wrestling, maybe celebrate that memory?
I know, I know … I can hear your ‘buts’ and sighs, your ‘only ifs,’ and they will remain there. Even if I am your mère, you’ve always listened and made difficult decisions that I think you would have to agree has meant you have never been bored … in fact, I’d say you’ve liked to rock the boat!
I can picture your grins when you made that apology. No one in your class wanted to do it. I think everyone knew you had done wrong and still no one wanted to say so! The four of you, however, stood up and did it anyway! As you stood before the family you had hurt, you knew they might not believe you – maybe even didn’t trust you – but you were humble enough to know that the words weren’t enough. Ever since then, you’ve tried to find the actions to make those words true, even after all these years. And when you’ve almost faltered, Parish has always taken the time to remind you of that apology and – generally – you’ve listened to your sibling.
Finally, as I finish this letter, I can imagine your slouching and wondering when I’ll leave it be?
Parish, Scott and Wesley, maybe you need to talk to Accord once again? It almost broke you up that last fight. You didn’t want to let the others in – you had become so accustomed to your own opinions and ideas that letting them in became pretty contentious. I worried for you then … I wept and held my voice.
Parish, Wesley, Accord, Scott Image: Peter Trimming
Even if you are my children, I know that sometimes what is hardest is also best – which is not what most of us hear these days. But Accord finally shared an opinion that swayed you: you realised that the way you treated them would only reflect on what you did to yourselves, eventually. If you hurt them, you did that to all four of you, in the end. So … with tears and admittedly difficult recrimination from the family, you let them in … and that was change: I’d even go so far as call it transformation.
I love you – you know that – and I know I cannot fix this new challenge, though I so long to be able to do that. Maybe – as you look ahead to all that uncertainty – you might hold up these few memories. They’re some of the times when I know you have been at your best. Take them, celebrate them and imagine what they might say to that unclear path before you. So, doubt and question freely my Dear Ones, a new adventure lies before you and you shall choose bravely: of that I have no doubt …